Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on a question below to be taken to the corresponding answer. Alternatively, you can type your question or a key term into the box that appears when you click on the blue 'Help' button at the bottom right of the screen.
For questions specifically related to revalidation, please click here.
No, anyone can take the qualifications but in order to apply to be an OV you must be a member.
(Please note: to complete the Practical Assessment of OCQ(V) - TT you will need to be an MRCVS and be working in a practice in England, Scotland or Wales where your duties include TB testing)
Yes, you can start studying now, but when you register do not apply to be an OV. Later, once you have your RCVS registration number, log in again and apply for OV status at this stage.
No, the training will all be online and can be studied and assessed in your own time – all you need is a computer with internet access.
Candidates completing the online examination are required to do so in the presence of a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS), or a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) for overseas students, so you will need to coordinate this in advance. See Assessment and Accreditation for further info.
(Please note: there will be a Practical Assessment for OCQ(V) - TT)
If you work as a locum, and are registered under your home address, but are intending to enrol for the OCQ(V) - CA and/or OCQ(V) - SX, you should use the address of the practice from which you issue the pet passport in both Section IV 'Issuing of the passport', and in the 'Authorised veterinarian' box in the rabies section of the passport. Please also use the comments section on your Personal Training Dashboard to keep an up-to-date record of the practices you are working in.
This is the correct place to register and train, however the term LVI has been replaced by Official Veterinarian (OV).
We recommend that you use Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari as your internet browser for the courses. We strongly advise that you do not use Internet Explorer. You must also have your cookies enabled. If you have checked this and still can’t access your course, please call us on 0330 202 0380.
It is an APHA requirement that all OVs have an individual and unique email address and can thereby register and gain authorisation and OCQ(V)s linked to the individual, not a practice. Please click here for more information. If you do not have a unique practice email address, you may need to register using your personal email address or set up a new practice one. It must be an email address that you check regularly.
You may amend any of your details that you originally registered with by logging in to your Personal Training Dashboard and selecting ‘Update details’ from the left-hand side of the screen. This includes if you change practice; all you need to do is update your details to show the new practice. You may wish to make a note of your old practice in the comments section too.
We have tried to provide clear guidelines but if you cannot upload your signature please call us for further support.
For any queries relating to pet passports, exports, etc., OVs should contact the APHA Centre for International Trade, Carlisle (0300 020 0301). For advice on completing APHA forms, the OV should contact their local APHA office.
You will only need to do OCQ(V) - CA (Companion Animals). This qualification covers the export of pets (including pet birds) and the Pet Travel Scheme, and incorporates elements of OCQ(V) - ES and OCQ(V) - EX applicable to small animal practitioners and the export of pets/PETS. It should be noted that the scope of coverage of these elements (e.g. notifiable disease, welfare, export certification and procedures) will be limited to that required for this work. Once you have successfully completed the online training and passed the online examination in order to obtain the OCQ(V) - CA qualification, you can apply through this registration site to APHA for authorisation as an OV.
Please note: if you also want to cover the commercial export of small animals you may require OCQ(V) - SX (Small Animal Exports) instead. This qualification covers work relating to commercial exports of a variety of small animals, including export to/from laboratories, zoos and other establishments – incorporating approved and registered veterinarian aspects – in addition to the export of pet animals and PETS. As a prerequisite, practitioners wanting to do OCQ(V) - SX will have to have first completed OCQ(V) - ES and OCQ(V) - EX – the scope of these qualifications is significantly wider in terms of the key elements of notifiable disease, welfare, export certification and procedures, which reflects the complexity of the scenarios under which this work is undertaken and the commercial nature of the OV work in this area.
The OCQ(V) - CA (Companion Animal) relates mainly to pets. It covers:
- Export of pet dogs, cats, ferrets, small mammals (guinea pigs, mice, rabbits, etc.)
- Export of pet birds – these are all birds (excluding poultry and pigeons) that are accompanied by their owner and are not intended to be sold or transferred to another owner
- Export of pet reptiles travelling with their owner
- Export of pets from breeding establishments and rescue centres as a commercial exercise
- Export of more than 5 pets for shows or competitions
- Export of more than 5 pets not intended for shows or competitions (additional certification is required for more than 4 pets travelling with an owner including for a holiday)
- Export can be to the EU or countries outside of the EU
The OCQ(V) - SX (Small Animal Exports) is a more commercial qualification. Everything listed above (in OCQ(V) - CA) is included, plus:
- Commercial export of small laboratory animals, including all primates
- Commercial export of zoo animals, including primates, carnivores, etc. (except zoo ungulates (hoofed animals), which fall under OCQ(V) - UX)
- Commercial export of reptiles
- Zoo birds
- Exports to the EU or outside of the EU
The OCQ(V) - AX (Avian Exports) covers:
- Hatching eggs – eggs for incubation, laid by poultry
- Poultry – this includes fowl (chickens), turkeys, guinea fowl, ducks, geese, pheasants, partridge, quail and ratites (flightless birds like ostrich and emu)
- Captive birds – birds usually kept as a hobby, for pleasure, scientific interest or sport, i.e. racing pigeons and birds of prey
- Exports to the EU or outside of the EU
(Please note: although people keep ducks, chickens and geese as pets they are not considered as pets and are not covered by OCQ(V) - CA)
The OCQ(V) - PX (Product Exports) covers the export of animal products. This includes:
- Foodstuffs of animal origin
- Certain live animals for direct human consumption such as mussels
- Animal by-products such as wool, hides and skins
- Goods that may have come in contact with animals, such as hay and straw
(Please note: semen and ova are also animal products but are covered in the OCQ(V) - GX (Germinal Products) course)
If in doubt please contact us or call the APHA OV Team on 0208 026 1094 to clarify.
A supply of pet passports is ordered by emailing email@example.com.
The initial training is online. Once you have successfully completed the training and passed the online exam, you then nominate a Supervisor and complete and return your Sam declaration form. Once your Supervisor has accepted the role and APHA have received the completed Sam declaration form, your authorisation for conditional OV status will be processed. When your conditional approval as an OV for OCQ(V) - TT is granted, which can take up to 10 working days, APHA will send you your OV stamp and set up your Sam access. You have up to 6 months from the date you are granted conditional OV status to complete your Practical Assessment and achieve full approval. During this supervisory period you will be allowed to carry out tuberculin testing under the supervision of an experienced member of your veterinary practice OV team. You must test a minimum of 50 animals under ‘direct and continuous’ supervision. When your Supervisor is able to ‘sign you off’ as competent to test you may progress to testing under ‘direction’, where an experienced OV is available to consult, but is not necessarily present. This experienced OV does not have to be your nominated Supervisor. Please see Practical Assessment for further information.
The APHA may conduct random, unannounced audits at any time. We are pleased to hear that your audit was successful but it does not replace your OCQ(V) - TT Practical Assessment. These are two separate processes. You must still arrange your Practical Assessment with Improve International. Please contact us in good time to book this.
On your Personal Training Dashboard, go to the 'Training details' page for the qualification that you are studying. Scroll down this page to Section 2: 'Online examination'. You then make your nomination by clicking on the blue button on the right ('Nominate invigilator') and filling in the details. Your nominated invigilator will receive an email with a link they must follow to confirm, with their electronic signature, that they are prepared to undertake the role of invigilator. Once this process is complete you will have access to the online exam. You must have your invigilator with you throughout the exam. Please see the Assessment and Accreditation page for more details about the online exam.
Yes. If you return to the 'Training details' page on your Personal Training Dashboard you can change your nomination.
There will be instances where the Official Veterinarian (OV) status certificate may require a countersignature – for example, for OVs who work on behalf of a Welsh veterinary practice. At present the certificate as downloaded from the Improve International registration database would not include any countersignature; therefore in those instances, to ensure the certificate is legal, APHA will produce the certificate and once it has been countersigned it will be forwarded to the OV by post.
No, you will continue to have access to the course material if you decide to complete the qualification.
You can find the revalidation information, including relevant Frequently Asked Questions, by clicking here.
The content of the courses is under constant review by the APHA and will be updated when required. In the interim, OVs will be notified of all updates through OV briefing notes and technical notices. This information will be added to the courses as it is published.
Please click here for further information.
No. The OCQ(V) qualifications are not currently recognised in Northern Ireland. The following link gives you the contact details for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland (DAERA), who provide all Official Veterinarian training in Northern Ireland: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/contact.
The OCQ(V) qualifications do not cover red meat, white meat or game inspection work. But you will be required to hold the OCQ(V) - PX (Product Exports) if you are certifying any meat or meat products for export. To have the qualification OCQ(V) - PX you will also require the OCQ(V) - ES and OCQ(V) - EX, which are prerequisites to OCQ(V) - PX.
In order to sign the relevant certificate in this case, you will be required to hold the OCQ(V) - ES and the OCQ(V) - EX. When asked to certify the export of equipment or machinery, it is always best to check the requirements with the Centre for International Trade, Carlisle (03000 200 301).
APHA are responsible for issuing OV stamps. Please contact them at CSC One Health OV Team (APHA).
If you no longer need your OV stamp, please return it to the APHA OV Team, APHA Specialist Service Centre, Worcestershire County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester, WR5 2NP.
Click here to read the APHA FAQs.
Veterinary Practice magazine
Veterinary Practice magazine is home to the Official Vet column, providing OVs with the latest news and updates from APHA and Improve International as well as featuring interesting articles on topics relevant to the industry.
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